semantic markup

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Gordon Freeman, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. I was just looking at a semantic markup scheme proposed by the major search
    engines at schema.org, but ISTM there is a problem that if you insert the
    tags they propose (see example below) then your pages will fail the W3C
    validation since the attributes itemscope, itemtype, etc are not
    recognised.

    I note however that there are a number of other markup schemes around, some
    of which reuse existing attributes like "class" or "rel" to avoid
    validation problems. Of course this could lead to other problems depending
    on how you name your CSS classes!

    So I wondered if anyone is using semantic markup much and if so which type
    and whether it leads to better search engine listings or other benefits?

    schema.org example:
    <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Movie">
    <h1 itemprop="name">Avatar</h1>
    <div itemprop="director" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
    Director: <span itemprop="name">James Cameron</span> (born <span
    itemprop="birthDate">August 16, 1954</span>)
    </div>
    <span itemprop="genre">Science fiction</span>
    <a href="../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html"
    itemprop="trailer">Trailer</a>
    </div>
    Gordon Freeman, Jan 5, 2012
    #1
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  2. Gordon Freeman <> wrote

    > I was just looking at a semantic markup scheme proposed by the major
    > search engines at schema.org, but ISTM there is a problem that if you
    > insert the tags they propose (see example below) then your pages will
    > fail the W3C validation since the attributes itemscope, itemtype, etc
    > are not recognised.
    >
    > I note however that there are a number of other markup schemes around,
    > some of which reuse existing attributes like "class" or "rel" to avoid
    > validation problems. Of course this could lead to other problems
    > depending on how you name your CSS classes!
    >
    > So I wondered if anyone is using semantic markup much and if so which
    > type and whether it leads to better search engine listings or other
    > benefits?
    >



    The only thing I'm using is the hrecipe format on my cooking blog in my
    signature below. It's a WordPress plugin, so it's pretty easy.

    --
    Adrienne Boswell
    Arbpen Web Site Design Services - http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info/
    The Good Plate - Fresh Gourmet Recipes - http://the-good-plate.com/
    Please respond to the group so others can share
    Adrienne Boswell, Jan 5, 2012
    #2
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  3. Re: semantic markup OT

    Adrienne Boswell wrote:

    > The only thing I'm using is the hrecipe format on my cooking blog in my
    > signature below. It's a WordPress plugin, so it's pretty easy.
    >


    <li><a class="active"
    href="http://the-good-plate.com"><span><span>Home</span></span></a></li>

    Why the double nested spans throughout?

    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
    Jonathan N. Little, Jan 5, 2012
    #3
  4. 2012-01-05 18:07, Gordon Freeman wrote:

    > I was just looking at a semantic markup scheme proposed by the major search
    > engines at schema.org,


    They have pretty much decided on it. The main reason for semantic markup
    is search engines, so whatever they do becomes the norm

    > but ISTM there is a problem that if you insert the
    > tags they propose (see example below) then your pages will fail the W3C
    > validation since the attributes itemscope, itemtype, etc are not
    > recognised.


    Validation is overrated, and it is formal. You can make pretty much
    anything validated (provided you follow some very generic markup
    conventions) if you write a suitable DTD. And in this case, you don't
    even need to do that; just slap
    <!doctype html>
    at the start of your document, and the ghastly W3C Markup Validator
    transmogrifies to a nice little HTML5 linter (though they still call it
    a "validator"). And in HTML5, the itemscope etc. attributes are OK.

    > I note however that there are a number of other markup schemes around, some
    > of which reuse existing attributes like "class" or "rel" to avoid
    > validation problems. Of course this could lead to other problems depending
    > on how you name your CSS classes!


    Indeed. And such problems were one of the reasons why the gods... the
    search engines decided to make microdata the favored rite... method.

    > So I wondered if anyone is using semantic markup much and if so which type
    > and whether it leads to better search engine listings or other benefits?


    Semantic markup surely works in many cases - some of the special Google
    searches like recipe search or shopping search utilize semantic markup.
    The bad news is that they only do this for large sites (and in a rather
    US-centric way). They don't say this very explicitly, but neither do
    they say explicitly, or at all, what you _really_ need to do to make
    their systems recognize your site "semantically".

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 5, 2012
    #4
  5. Re: semantic markup OT

    "Jonathan N. Little" <> wrote

    > Adrienne Boswell wrote:
    >
    >> The only thing I'm using is the hrecipe format on my cooking blog in
    >> my signature below. It's a WordPress plugin, so it's pretty easy.
    >>

    >
    > <li><a class="active"
    > href="http://the-good-plate.com"><span><span>Home</span></span></a></li
    > >

    >
    > Why the double nested spans throughout?
    >


    You know, I don't know. Normally, I would be jumping up and down,
    pointing fingers, screaming at the top of my lungs - but, hey, it's
    WordPress, and it is what it is. One of these days, I'll delve into it
    and figure out what doing what, and clean it up.

    --
    Adrienne Boswell
    Arbpen Web Site Design Services - http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info/
    The Good Plate - Fresh Gourmet Recipes - http://the-good-plate.com/
    Please respond to the group so others can share
    Adrienne Boswell, Jan 7, 2012
    #5
  6. Re: semantic markup OT

    Adrienne Boswell wrote:
    > "Jonathan N. Little"<> wrote
    >
    >> Adrienne Boswell wrote:
    >>
    >>> The only thing I'm using is the hrecipe format on my cooking blog in
    >>> my signature below. It's a WordPress plugin, so it's pretty easy.
    >>>

    >>
    >> <li><a class="active"
    >> href="http://the-good-plate.com"><span><span>Home</span></span></a></li
    >>>

    >>
    >> Why the double nested spans throughout?
    >>

    >
    > You know, I don't know. Normally, I would be jumping up and down,
    > pointing fingers, screaming at the top of my lungs - but, hey, it's
    > WordPress, and it is what it is. One of these days, I'll delve into it
    > and figure out what doing what, and clean it up.
    >


    One of my issues with frameworks. In this case the "blackbox" produces
    something harmless, but when it a security issue...yikes!

    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
    Jonathan N. Little, Jan 7, 2012
    #6
  7. Gordon Freeman

    Gus Richter Guest

    On 1/5/2012 11:07 AM, Gordon Freeman wrote:
    > I was just looking at a semantic markup scheme proposed by the major search
    > engines at schema.org, but ISTM there is a problem that if you insert the
    > tags they propose (see example below) then your pages will fail the W3C
    > validation since the attributes itemscope, itemtype, etc are not
    > recognised.


    Those attributes are provided with "Microdata" feature in HTML5. Use it,
    it's a fait accompli.

    > So I wondered if anyone is using semantic markup much and if so which type
    > and whether it leads to better search engine listings or other benefits?


    Search engines/web crawlers love assistance - be nice to them and
    they'll be nice in turn. Web crawlers/Search engines love assistance
    with semantic Markup, etc.:

    HTML5 provides "outlines" with new elements <section>, <article>,
    <nav> and <aside>.
    HTML5 provides "Microdata" (also see schema.org) with the new <time>
    element and its datetime attribute and attributes (item groups);
    itemscope, itemtype, itemprop, itemid, itemref.
    HTML5 provides "ARIA" semantic (role and aria-) attributes to aid Web
    Accessibility e.g. role="main". (WAI-ARIA = Web Accessibility Initiative
    - Accessible Rich Internet Applications)

    "Section 508" of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (USA only and
    excepting private web sites unless receiving federal funds or under
    contract with a federal agency) is a law to provide usability and
    accessibility by the visually impaired using assistive technology such
    as screen readers and refreshable Braille displays. Caveat: Very
    condensed - not an authority - read Section 508.

    "Sitemap" (sitemaps.org) is an XML file that lists URLs for a site
    along with additional metadata about each URL - what content you would
    like indexed.
    robots.txt file (robotstxt.org) or robots meta tag. To exclude content
    (don't want indexed) from search engines.

    --
    Gus
    Gus Richter, Jan 8, 2012
    #7
  8. 2012-01-08 5:04, Gus Richter wrote:

    > Search engines/web crawlers love assistance - be nice to them and
    > they'll be nice in turn.


    That's a nice diplomatic way of expressing the situation. We could also
    say that the state loves assistance - pay your taxes and they might not
    put you in jail.

    > Web crawlers/Search engines love assistance
    > with semantic Markup, etc.:


    However, they don't tell us what they really want and what they really
    do. We're supposed to listen to abstract descriptions that may change
    without notice and may or may not relate to the reality.

    > HTML5 provides "outlines" with new elements <section>, <article>, <nav>
    > and <aside>.


    No search engine has been reported to pay the least attention to them.
    We've only seen discussion statements about what _might be_ done.

    > HTML5 provides "Microdata" (also see schema.org) with the new <time>
    > element and its datetime attribute and attributes (item groups);
    > itemscope, itemtype, itemprop, itemid, itemref.


    HTML5 is not the thing here. Schema.org is. But they're not really
    telling us how widely they use microdata. Before spending the next month
    adding microdata to all pages of yours, run a simple test with one page
    (to see that nothing happens unless your site happens to be a large
    company or community site that search engines appreciate).

    > HTML5 provides "ARIA" semantic (role and aria-) attributes


    For some values of "HMTL5", but I don't see what this has to do with
    crawlers or search engines. They could learn from ARIA semantics, but
    they don't care, partly because only a small fraction of pages use ARIA
    attributes, and who knows whether they do it properly?

    > "Sitemap" (sitemaps.org) is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along
    > with additional metadata about each URL - what content you would like
    > indexed.
    > robots.txt file (robotstxt.org) or robots meta tag. To exclude content
    > (don't want indexed) from search engines.


    Neither of these is semantic markup.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 8, 2012
    #8
  9. Gordon Freeman

    Gus Richter Guest

    On 1/8/2012 4:41 AM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > 2012-01-08 5:04, Gus Richter wrote:
    >
    > ........... but I don't see what this has to do with
    > crawlers or search engines.
    >
    > Neither of these is semantic markup.


    The OP queried regarding "Semantic Markup" and "Search Engines" so I
    tried in the preamble to extend from Semantic Markup with "etc." - in
    any case, they all related and he can choose his poison.

    "Outlines" and "Microdata" relate to Semantic Markup for Search Engines.
    "ARIA" relates to Semantic Markup for Accessibility (as does Section 508
    for USA).
    "sitemaps.org" and "robotstxt.org" relate to Search Engines.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Re: HTML5 document Validation, I have come across an oddity.
    WAI Validation (Cynthia) demands: <meta name=language
    content="English">
    HTML Validation, however, states that keyword language is not
    registered and therefore rejects this META.
    (The META in fact is redundant due to <html lang="en"> as per HTML5)

    --
    Gus
    Gus Richter, Jan 8, 2012
    #9
  10. 2012-01-08 14:24, Gus Richter wrote:

    > The OP queried regarding "Semantic Markup" and "Search Engines" so I
    > tried in the preamble to extend from Semantic Markup with "etc."


    Such as robots.txt? Such references to completely different topics just
    confuse, and the issue does not really require any added confusion.

    > "Outlines" and "Microdata" relate to Semantic Markup for Search Engines.


    Do you have any actual evidence of the effect of "outlines" on search
    engines or anything? (Besides, they are structure rather than semantics
    in the sense discussed here. Being a header group is part of structure
    and does not say a word about the _meaning_ of header texts.)

    > Re: HTML5 document Validation, I have come across an oddity.


    It's usually a good idea to start a new thread when you have a new
    question. Language markup is tangentially related to semantic markup,
    but if the issue you raise is essential, it would deserve a new heading
    and a new thread.

    > WAI Validation (Cynthia)


    Cynthia is fake and probably causes more harm than good.

    > demands: <meta name=language content="English">


    That's an example of the bogosity of Cynthia. They've just invented
    rules and made software that runs some checks against their rules.

    > HTML Validation, however, states that keyword language is not registered
    > and therefore rejects this META.


    No, it's the HTML5 linter, called "validator", which is another
    subjective checker, though much more useful and sensible.

    The linter also tells you what to do to have your meta names registered,
    but I wouldn't bother. Registering it would not help anyone and might
    even hide part of the bogosity. The idea is not to register whatever
    meta names someone makes up but to register names with well defined
    meaning and relevant support in software in the sense that the meta
    information is _used_ for something.

    Besides, if Cynthia were under reasonable maintenance, the people
    responsible for it would have done something to this if they have
    evidence that the tag they require is of some use. But Cynthia is
    apparently without maintenance - you might draw some conclusion from the
    fact that it claims to check WCAG 1.0 conformance. WCAG 1.0 was
    succeeded by WCAG 2.0 over two years ago.

    > (The META in fact is redundant due to <html lang="en"> as per HTML5)


    The lang attribute is nothing new in HTML5, but it is indeed the way to
    declare content language.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 8, 2012
    #10
  11. Gordon Freeman

    Gus Richter Guest

    On 1/8/2012 8:49 AM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > 2012-01-08 14:24, Gus Richter wrote:
    >
    > Such as robots.txt? Such references to completely different topics just
    > confuse, and the issue does not really require any added confusion.


    I showed how robots.txt relates. The OP was asking for methods to
    achieve "better search engine listings or other benefits". Sorry to
    cause you any confusion.

    >> "Outlines" and "Microdata" relate to Semantic Markup for Search Engines.

    >
    > Do you have any actual evidence of the effect of "outlines" on search
    > engines or anything? (Besides, they are structure rather than semantics
    > in the sense discussed here. Being a header group is part of structure
    > and does not say a word about the _meaning_ of header texts.)


    My tests have led me to believe that "outlines" achieve code bloat with
    additional Semantic Markup and no apparent further gain except for
    syndication in the case of <article>. Reading several sources, draws
    attention to the importance for accessibility, but "aside from
    accessibility, building good HTML5 outlines is also useful for SEO
    (search engine optimization). A good outline can be read by a search
    engine robot and make your page easier to scan and add to the index. And
    pages that can be added more quickly get indexed better and that can
    help you rank higher in the results."
    <http://webdesign.about.com/od/html5tutorials/a/html5-outlines.htm>

    --
    Gus
    Gus Richter, Jan 8, 2012
    #11
  12. 2012-01-08 19:04, Gus Richter wrote:

    > The OP was asking for methods to
    > achieve "better search engine listings or other benefits".


    No, the question was whether and how semantic markup achieves that.

    >> Do you have any actual evidence of the effect of "outlines" on search
    >> engines or anything?

    [...]
    > <http://webdesign.about.com/od/html5tutorials/a/html5-outlines.htm>


    I think the quotation, which presents no actual evidence, was your way
    of saying "No."

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 8, 2012
    #12
  13. Gordon Freeman

    Gus Richter Guest

    On 1/8/2012 1:51 PM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > 2012-01-08 19:04, Gus Richter wrote:
    >
    >> The OP was asking for methods to
    >> achieve "better search engine listings or other benefits".

    >
    > No, the question was whether and how semantic markup achieves that.


    And it was my way of saying "yes" and "that's how".

    >>> Do you have any actual evidence of the effect of "outlines" on search
    >>> engines or anything?

    > [...]
    >> <http://webdesign.about.com/od/html5tutorials/a/html5-outlines.htm>

    >
    > I think the quotation, which presents no actual evidence, was your way
    > of saying "No."


    I think that using this approach to negate means that everything that
    you have said in this thread is presented with no actual evidence and
    was just so much hot air.

    --
    Gus
    Gus Richter, Jan 8, 2012
    #13
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